Suffering is part of life,' she said. 'All the parts of life are jumbled up together; you can't separate out just the one thing.' She parred his hand again, kindly. 'I could let you kill me now, lovely man, and have peace and good dreams forever. But who knows what I get instead, if I stay? Maybe time to see a new grandchild. Maybe a good joke that sets me laughing for days. Maybe another handsome young fellow flirting with me.' She grinned toothlessly, then let loose another horrible, racking cough. Ehiru steadies her with shaking hands. 'I want every moment of my life, pretty man, the painful and the sweet alike. Until the very end. If these are all the memories I get for eternity, I want to take as many of them with me as I can.
I remembered Nahadoth's lips on my throat and fought to suppress a shudder, only half succeeding. Death as a consequence of lying with a god wasn't something I had considered, but it did not surprise me. A mortal man's strength had its limits. He spent himself and slept. He could be a good lover, but even his best skills were only guesswork - for every caress that sent a woman's head into the clouds, he might try ten that brought her back to earth.
The younger man stepped away from the table and came toward me, his whole posture radiating menace. Every Darre woman is taught to deal with such behavior from men. It is an animal trick that they use, like dogs ruffling their fur and growling. Only rarely is there an actual threat behind it, and a woman's strength lies in discerning when the threat is real and when it is just hair and noise.